What People Who Worked With Keanu Reeves Have Said About Him
Keanu Reeves has slowly but surely established himself as one of the most popular stars in Hollywood. Although he has appeared in a wide variety of genres - from comedy to action, from horror to science fiction - he has maintained a reputation as a fundamentally decent guy. In large part, his positive public image stems from the many interviews in which he is disarmingly honest and earnest.
However, much of it also comes from various behind-the-scenes looks at Reeves's life and work, many of which reveal heartwarming details. Those who have worked with him throughout his career have been particularly illuminating about just what kind of person he is.
- Photo: Chain Reaction / 20th Century Fox
Throughout the 1990s, Reeves solidified a reputation as one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars. He began taking more and more action film roles, one of which was 1996's Chain Reaction, in which he co-starred with Rachel Weisz.
Weisz has frequently spoken of her deep admiration for her co-star. And, lest anyone think Reeves is just a pretty face, she wants to correct the record:
He's one of the most intelligent people I've ever met. He's extraordinary. People think he's forever on a motorbike with all these teenage girls in pursuit, but he's nothing like that. He's very profound… He's also brilliant at his craft. To play this physicist he put on lots of weight and grew his hair long and became incredibly unglamorous. He didn't go to the gym to work out once, which must have been tough for him. When you're fit you don't want to lose it.
- Photo: The Matrix Resurrections / Warner Bros. Pictures2303 VOTES
Jonathan Groff Described Reeves As Many Contradictions, All At Once
Like Reeves, Jonathan Groff is known to many for his down-to-earth and earnest demeanor. And, like Reeves, he has played a wide variety of roles, appearing with Reeves in The Matrix Resurrections as Smith (the character previously portrayed by Hugo Weaving).
In a 2021 interview, Groff spoke eloquently about how fascinating it is to encounter Reeves:
He's so many contradictions at the same time, because he's very real. There's no bells and whistles. He doesn't come with a team of people that you have to go through to have a conversation with Keanu. He's very normal. And then at the same time, he's Keanu Reeves. And on this particular set, he's Thomas Anderson. He's Neo. He's inhabiting this intense, iconic person in the world of film. And it's like, he is those exact things at the exact same time. He's such a living, breathing beautiful contradiction.
- Photo: John Wick / Lionsgate3345 VOTES
Jeremy Fry Said Reeves Is Willing To Do His Own Stunts, But Doesn't Mind Standing Aside
Given how many action films Reeves has been in, it’s not surprising to learn of his physical agility. In fact, he's one of a small number of stars willing to do their own stunts; however, when appropriate, he's also willing to stand back and let others do the work for which they're best suited. This impressed Jeremy Fry, the actor’s stunt double in the John Wick films.
There was a shot where we wanted Keanu to slide up the camera and we wanted to... have the camera come right up to him. And we worked with him for a while on that one, and it's a tricky one [but] he nailed it...
It's always interesting to me when actors want to do their own stunts... when you have people who you can use and you won't know that it's not them. But Keanu, he completely gets that. He has never said, "I want to do it." He trusts [directors] to make the best decision that they can and he knows that they will use him whenever they feel it's appropriate and safe.
- Photo: Always Be My Maybe / Netflix
One of Reeves's endearing qualities is his ability to be in on the joke. Given how famous he is, and how some celebrities have a tendency to be quite full of themselves, this trait sets him apart. In Always Be My Maybe, for example, he plays a somewhat caricatured version of himself.
While he obviously made the most out of his few scenes, he also took great pains to ensure he didn’t upstage Ali Wong, rightly pointing out she was the actual star. “He didn’t want to make him too cartoony because then that hurts my character. He’s very considerate in that way. Super thoughtful," Wong remarked in an interview. She later elaborated:
Even on the red carpet [at the premiere], he kept on moving to the fringe when we took group shots. It’s Keanu, and everyone’s so excited about him, and everyone else looks like garbage when they’re next to him, so I think he just wanted to be considerate and tried to keep the focus on us.
- Photo: The Matrix / Warner Bros.
Although Reeves is the star of the Matrix films, Carrie-Ann Moss is undeniably another key aspect of the franchise’s appeal. She is an action hero in her own right, and undeniable chemistry exists between her and Reeves.
By her own accounts, this is as true in their personal lives as it is on the screen. Among other things, Reeves gave her recommendations for movies she could watch with her kids, a gesture she appreciated:
In the Matrix movies, I’ve always felt like I was his partner, and he was my partner, in the execution of these characters. It was never the feeling of, Oh, he’s the movie star. His work ethic is unlike anyone I’ve ever met, and I’ve seen it up close: He trains harder, works harder, cares more, always asks more and more questions to understand the depth of what we’re doing. And while he was doing all of that for himself, he always had an eye out for me. Like when I asked him for those movies, it seems like a little thing, but he’s so busy, he’s exhausted, and took the time to write this very, very thoughtful list.
- Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures6306 VOTES
When 'Keanu' Was Set To Be Made, Reeves Wanted A Meeting Before Approving It, To Ensure He Wasn't Being Mocked
Although known for his humility, Reeves is a very bankable star, so it makes sense he'd be concerned about his public image, so he was initially reluctant to join the film Keanu - an action comedy starring Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key as a duo trying to retrieve their stolen kitten. It was the star’s sister who persuaded him to get involved, after she saw a trailer.
Even then, however, Reeves wanted to meet with director Peter Atencio before he agreed to appear, to make sure he wasn’t being mocked. As Atencio related:
I told him about the movie and talked him through the story. His personality has just transcended life, in a lot of ways. You wouldn’t have ever guessed that the guy from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure would turn out to be this thoughtful, kind man.
Ultimately, Reeves provided the voice for the kitten who bears his name.